Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Juliet McArdle makes this connection in Lahore, Pakistan. This current event was reported in Outlook Pakistan, on October 4, 2015, under the title, Depleting water level threatens life in Lahore, by Outlook Pakistan. Reports from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) support this article through their efforts of a City-wide Partnership for Sustainable Water Use and Water Stewardship for Sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The population of Lahore is growing at an alarming rate, with an expected 22 million people by 2025. Most of these people are expected to live in urban areas, furthering the depletion of an already poor water supply. The current water resources are poorly managed as the rates of water consumption and pollution are taking a toll on the groundwater source, the Ravi River. Due to these issues, WWF along Coca Cola and other companies are partnering together to implement a project to install 15 water filtration plants throughout the city. An estimated 3 million people die in Lahore each year just from waterborne diseases. As industries keep pumping their waste into the water supply of Lahore the plan to have a partnership between industries and the city is much needed. Water resources engineering is important in the implementation of this agreement in order to come up with regulations for cleaner water and to treat the water that is already polluted. The article even gives suggestions for ending the water crisis in Lahore by having responsible consumption, recharging groundwater that has been used and harvesting rainwater.

Figure 1. Polluted water being used to irrigate farmland in Lahore, Pakistan.

The water crisis in Lahore brings up various economic, environmental and societal issues for the city. Small businesses rely on clean water in to run efficiently. Without this important resource people will have trouble making a living. The cost of clean-up of the already polluted waterways is also another economic issue that Lahore faces. Since water is such a needed asset of farming, it is quickly being depleted, lowering water tables. Aquifer recharge is not occurring as quickly as it should due to an increase in concrete cover as the city continues to develop. Since the water is so polluted many people, especially children, are becoming sick. Although the population continues to grow, it will put a greater stress on water resources as well as cause more pollution, leading to more waterborne diseases. Waterborne diseases are not properly tested for and new standards must be made in order to provide better water for those using it (Gleeson).The cause and effect of population growth and deterioration of water supply will only get worse if the City-wide Partnership for Sustainable Water Use and Water Stewardship for Sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises is not implemented to its full potential.

References

Gleeson C, Gray N. The Coliform Index and Waterborne Disease; Problems of Microbial Drinking Water Assessment [e-book]. London: CRC Press; 1997. Available from: eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost), Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 6, 2017.

Pakistan O. Depleting water level threatens life in Lahore. Outlook Pakistan. https://www.outlookpakistan.com/depleting-water-threatens-life-in-lahore/81/. Published October 4, 2015. Accessed March 6, 2017.

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